Mary Anning and the Great Fossil Discoveries

Graphic Universe. (Graphic Science Biographies). Feb. 2023. 40p. tr. from Spanish by Sofía Huitrón Martínez . lib. ed. $30.65. ISBN 9781728442921; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781728478272.
Gr 4-8–This translated graphic biography introduces paleontologist Mary Anning. Anning was born into a poor English family in 1799. She learned her father’s hobby of collecting fossils, and upon his death, turned it into a source of income for her struggling family. Despite her lack of formal education, and the widespread sexism of the time, Anning gained renown, even discovering the first complete skeleton of a plesiosaurus. She was highly skilled, often discovering, drawing, classifying, and accurately theorizing about fossil remains. Bayarri takes pains to show both her intelligence and her naivete. Collectors and others took advantage of her, paying Anning less than her discoveries were worth, and sometimes even claiming her theories as their own. Despite the difficulties that her sex and social status presented, she earned a place among geologists and paleontologists and contributed much to the field. Anning’s story unfolds through dialogue presented in word bubbles using a simple uppercase font. Occasional text boxes offer context. Panels are linear with white space between. Elongated noses and simple features adorn all characters. Anning is often depicted in a work-worn bonnet and simple cape, her head frequently inclined in thought. The palette is earthy, but bright.
VERDICT Overall, this is a fine, simple introduction to an overlooked scientist. An index, further resources, glossary, and time line solidify its credentials as a worthy text for school assignments.

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